Official Publication of the Philippine Information Agency Bicol Regional Office, in cooperation with the RIAC-REDIRAS - RDC Bicol

Monday, June 24, 2013

Albay’s "largest human no-smoking sign" participants surpass target

By Joseph John J. Perez

LEGAZPI CITY, June 21 (PIA) -- Organizers for Albay’s Guinness World Record (GWR) attempt for the largest human no smoking sign has set the deadline for registration by noontime today, June 21, as it has breached its target of 13,000 total number of participants.

“As of Wednesday, June 19, we already have more than 15,000 participants who officially signed up for the event,” Smoke-Free Albay Network (SFAN) chairman and provincial board member Herbert Borja announced in a meeting called by the group this week.

The original plan of accommodating walk-ins and late registrants need to be dropped due to administrative and technical concerns, Borja added.

Concerns on registration, security, safety, printing of official shirts and ground preparations need to be finalized days before the event are also considered that prompted the decision to set the deadline, SFAN told the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).

“We are already 90 percent ready in terms of preparations and we are confident that the event will happen smoothly as planned,” Borja said.

Spectators are still welcome to witness the event despite the deadline though they cannot join the formation, SFAN said.

According to Borja, the 15,000 participants will make the image clearer and more distinct and the colors are more vivid for aerial documentation based on GWR’s guidelines. “We expect to produce an easily identifiable no-smoking sign on both short and far distances,” Borja said.

SFAN also disclosed that both national and international organizations have already taken notice on Albay’s unique strategy in pushing for its advocacy against smoking in a global platform.

“We are already receiving messages of support from national and international groups and individuals commending our efforts,” SFAN Secretariat head Rose Orbita said.

Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francisco Tolentino, Health Justice, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids are among the early supporters for the activity, Orbita said.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Air Force Tactical Operations Group (PAF TOG 5) which heads the documentation committee called for a coordination meeting with the promotion and publicity committee headed by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Bicol together with SFAN and officers of media groups to finalize media accreditation procedures, requirements and guidelines for the coverage of the event.

The media community will participate in the event in two ways: first, conduct coverage or second, be part of the human no-smoking sign. As of this writing, a total of 50 local media signified to cover the event and 143 opted to be part of the human sign, PIA said.

“We anticipate however that national media outlets will send correspondents from outside ALbay during the event and we will accommodate them according to our guidelines,” PIA said.

A media area will also be designated for coverage since non-participants to the world record attempt will not be allowed to enter the perimeter fence enclosing the formation based on the GWR’s guidelines, PIA added.

SFAN also disclosed that the National Aeronautics and Scientific Administration (NASA) is considering to take a picture of the event from outer space.

“As early as today, I am already congratulating and thanking all the persons and organizations involved who are ensuring the success of the activity on the day itself,” Borja said.

The event is the highlight in the series of activities that the Provincial Government of Albay (PGA) and SFAN had prepared in celebration of the International No-Smoking Month this June, Albay Governor Jose “Joey” Salceda said.

“(This is) to give relevance and meaning to the implementation of the Albay Smoke-free Ordinance and to educate or to instill awareness on the ill-effects of smoking and its hazards to the environment,” Salceda said. (MAL/JJJP-PIA5Albay)

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